Portland's mayor responds to scathing PBOT audit - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland's mayor responds to scathing PBOT audit

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Revenue is up, but not spending on Portland's street maintenance.  That's according the an audit report released Thursday on Portland's transportation budget.

"Despite recent increases in transportation revenue, spending for transportation maintenance has been reduced." City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade said. 

The report from the auditor's office shows parking and gas tax revenues have added more money to Portland's transportation budget.  But, the city reduced spending on streets and structural maintenance in favor of increased spending on other programs, like streetcar operations and transit mall upkeep.

"We found that new transportation projects displaced core services like maintaining streets," said Griffin-Valade, "and this reduction in maintaining key infrastructure places the city's long-term fiscal stability at greater risk."

Mayor Charlie Hales weighed in on the issue during a Fox 12 interview done in early January.

"I think this audit throws a spotlight on this problem," Hales said. "It really makes my day to have the auditor confirm we've got to put more money into street maintenance."

Hales wants to prioritize the budget and make sure Portland's infrastructure is taken care of.

"It's not responsible to let the streets crumble if we have any other choice," Hales said.

According to the auditor's report, estimates through the 2016-17 budget shows revenues from both gas and parking will continue to rise. 

"It's critical that City Council figure out where its emphasis should be to best maintain our $8 billion transportation network," Griffin-Valade said.

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